Processing of metaphoric and non-metaphoric alternative meanings of words after right- and left-hemispheric lesion

Brain Lang. 2003 Nov;87(2):217-26. doi: 10.1016/s0093-934x(03)00057-9.


This study examines the specificity of the contribution of the right hemisphere to the processing of metaphoric meaning of words. Ten right- and 10 left-hemisphere-damaged subjects, and 20 normal control subjects were submitted to: (1) a word-triad task where they had to associate alternative metaphoric and non-metaphoric words to a target word, and to (2) a word-dyad task where they had to decide whether or not there was a semantic relationship between two words. The two tasks aimed at differentiating between the subjects' preference for a given semantic meaning versus a genuine semantic deficit for a particular meaning. Results revealed that both right- and left-hemisphere-damaged groups presented a genuine semantic deficit for the processing of metaphoric meaning. The absence of a double dissociation between the two brain-damaged groups does not support the hypothesis of a specific contribution of the right-hemisphere to the processing of metaphoric meaning of words.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aphasia / diagnosis
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metaphor*
  • Middle Aged
  • Semantics*
  • Vocabulary*